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New Victim Fine Surcharges

Whenever there is a finding of guilt, either if the accused pleads guilty or is found guilty after trial, a victim fine surcharge will be automatically added to the sentence.

The government says that the surcharge is “used to help fund programs and services for victims of crime in the province or territory where the crime occurred.” As of October 24, 2013, judges lost their discretion to impose a victim fine surcharge if the accused did not have the ability to pay. For example, if the accused lost his employment as a result of a lengthy jail sentence, judges would often waive the victim fine surcharge, recognizing the undue hardship that it would cause.

However, as of October 24, 2013, a new bill was passed that removed the judge’s discretion to impose or not the victim fine surcharged, and doubled the amount imposed.

After a finding of guilt, the victim fine surcharge will be applied in the following manner:
– 30% of any fine imposed
– $100 for offences punishable by summary conviction, where no fine was imposed
– $200 for offences punishable by indictment, where no fine was imposed.

Although there is currently no discretion to waive the victim fine surcharge, many lawyers are working together to find workarounds, and prevent high surcharge payments: either with asking for lower fines to be imposed, which would reduce the 30% surcharge, or with arguing that the Bill be struck down as unconstitutional.

Your ability to pay a fine or surcharge is important to discuss with your lawyer.